WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD WORLD HEADQUARTERS PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG President and Pastor
November 28, l978
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
THINK of it! NEVER BEFORE in modern history such a ghastly unthinkable tragedy as the MASS SUICIDE of more than 900 people! In a ritualistic "religious" ceremony, parents administering a mixed drink of fruit juice and cyanide, then watching their little ones writhe in piercing painful convulsions, their breathing shut off, and calmly taking the fatal dose themselves!
NEVER BEFORE! And never before governments of nations being overthrown about one a month, weapons of MASS DESTRUCTION available in several nations that can ERASE HUMAN LIFE FROM THE EARTH! NEVER BEFORE many other calamities and tragedies and evils that beset humanity.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? The world has no answer! HOW could a single MAN lead off followers in that MAN'S concept of religion, and induce so many people—against the first law of human nature—against the Word of God which says "no man ever yet hated his own flesh," destroy themselves.
I am going to answer that in the next issue of The PLAIN TRUTH!
But one phase of the answer I can give you here. These people, many with fairly good education, were influenced against their former beliefs by A MAN, who possessed charisma, exceptional personality, claiming to preach the Gospel, into false belief and, like sheep going to the slaughter, leading them into self-slaughter!
Is there a lesson in this for the people of God's Church? Some few—so far as I know, well under 1/2 of 1%, have allowed themselves to become bitter, hostile to God's Church, and have either followed, or indicated they may follow, other malcontents out of the Church of God, to follow a man! And candidly, some such members, HOOKED on bitterness and resentment had better leave—because God's people will be relieved of a hostile, disagreeing attitude—and be free to fellowship and praise and worship God in harmony, and love, and peace. But I would hate to be the man such malcontents follow!
JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE, and IN HIS CHURCH. As the MAN, Jim Jones, led more than 900 followers into the FIRST DEATH, might not some we have looked on as brethren, follow a MAN, and pay the far greater and more calamitous price—the SECOND DEATH? I should like to prevent that.
This man was on a program of watering down GOD'S TRUTH while I was on the other side of the earth (and without my knowledge).
God's Church will NOT COMPROMISE a millionth part of 1% with GOD'S TRUTH as He reveals it to us who willingly accept it—hunger and thirst for it! When a program of watering down starts, it grows with increasing momentum. A number who left God's true Church, following a man or men have continued turning more and more from God's TRUTH, until they no longer keep the Sabbath or the Holy Days of God!
Many of Jesus' disciples, who had learned from Him IN PERSON, and had fellowshipped with Him IN PERSON, went out of His fellowship. "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:66-68). Jesus is IN His Church today. He will never forsake nor leave it. WILL YOU?
Brethren, could all these NEVER BEFORE evils be the FIRST RUMBLINGS of the GREAT TRIBULATION? I want to tell you, THEY ARE A WARNING TO ME! And they had better be to YOU!
I am working on many articles for The PLAIN TRVTH, and The GOOD NEWS. One is on the Laodicean era of the Church. WHEN will it come? HOW will it come? Many other articles vital to your life NOW—and to your ETERNITY!
Stand steadfast. How much have you prayed so far today? How earnestly and fervently do you pray? You know God speaks of some who honor Jesus with their lips, "but their heart is far from me." Let us RENEW our dedication to Jesus Christ, the living Head of God's Church. We need to draw closer to Him—for I now have to WARN YOU— terrifying days are ahead! Let us each do his part in this great Work of God, to the limit of his ability!
Do not look to "WHICH MAN"—for no man is really worthy—LOOK TO CHRIST! And WHERE will you find Jesus Christ? IN THE VERY MIDST OF GOD'S CHURCH! Let's DRAW CLOSER TO HIM and His INDESCRIBABLE LOVE!
With much love, in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong